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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

338                               LIFE   OF
is being1 done here. Antiquities are dug up now and
then, here arid there, but none of any importance, as these
labours are not regularly or perse veringly prosecuted.
ITea^s discoveries near the Pantheon might be im-
portant, if he did not look at them in a very casual
manner, then assert his opinion very obstinately, and
then generally fill up the holes again, "which is indeed
the best way to escape contradiction/"*
Hmnboldt says himself, that of the Homan scholars
he   esteemed   Monsignor Marini,   the  predecessor   of
Cardinal   Mai   as    president   of   the   library  of   the
"Vatican, most highly.     ITea, the well-known editor of
*c Horace/"  is described   in   the  above  letter ;  and of
the other Italian celebrities little can be said.     Hum-
boldt's most intimate scientific friend was,  as we have
already stated,   G-eorg   Zoega,   born  in   Jutland,  but
educated entirely as a German.     His profound know-
ledge of antiquity of languages, and  his accurate ac-
quaintance with the topography of old and new Rome,
made him  an  interesting companion  for   Humboldt-
His amiable and fine nature had been,  at an   early
age,   broken   down   by  care and   misfortune,   so that
Hunaboldt  'found   him.   sometimes   a   by   no   means
cheering companion.     But for Zoega,   in the last sad
years of his life, this friendship was all the more bene-
ficial, and Humboldt's house was the only one wliich
the failing invalid still visited.     Humboldt made him.
his  companion   in   Home   and   its  environs,   and  he
co^Ild  scarcely have found   a more  appropriate  one.
He in return assisted, sympathized -with, and inspired
him in his studies.     He  no  doubt joined him in his
studies of the Coptic, and of tlie subsequently better-
understood    hieroglyphics.       He    took    part    in   his
investigations of the  antique  bas-reliefs,  and in  his
topography   of    Home.       Very   shortly   after   2Ioega
died, Humboldt left Rome.
It is time now to refer to the intellectual pro-
ductions of Hunaboldt during his Homan residence,
and to such of these as have been published. Rome
influenced Ms productive talent favourably, and if the